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Day 29 Back sailing nicely - from time to time!

Tuesday 3rd May 2011

Had an excellent sleep after late/disturbed night.... Was up for 8am check around and log entry, didn't bother to set alarm for 11.40am 'sched' with S.African M.M.Net, thinking I didn't need to - and slept right through until 1.30pm! Clearly needed it! So had a (very!) late breakfast as I entered details in 1400 GMT position report:

LAT: 39-08S LONG: 002-16E COURSE: 081T SPEED: 6.3
CLOUDS: 98% BARO: 1029 TREND: -2

We're East of Greenwich Meridian now - local time is GMT. Distance to Cape Town: 839 n.ml.

3.20 p.m.
Grey and murky now but it's been nice to see plenty of birds around - as usual.... except they're slightly different ones today, apart from the usual group of Great Shearwaters - very gregarious, often doing 'synchronised flying'(!) or resting on the water together in groups. A Black-browed albatross - thought it was Yellow-nosed until I saw the bright yellow bill - unmistakable, .... a Cape Petrel flew around us.... a big brown skua came by and had a good close look around .... a few prions...

Still very little wind, so have been motoring gently when wind right down, to help us sail along in the increased apparent wind.... It's highly variable at the moment, sometimes 6-7 kt, other times 10-11, and occasionally, as just now, briefly up to 12-13kt... with direction anything from NNW to WNW. The wind should be increasing from now on , as we get a Front arriving over 5/6th, followed by a High again... but this time I'm likely to be headed by quite strong East winds, since likely to find the H to S of me - and an almighty deep, deep depression, with 9m/30ft swell, to the SW and heading this way to complicate matters - just as I'm trying to finish...!!! That's sailing for you! Murphy's alive and kicking.... and always laughing at us...!

Nice to have motor off for peace and quiet ... speed not too bad - clearly have a good current helping us along since when wind is only 6-7 knots, we're making around 5 knots SOG! Boatspeed then is supposedly around 3 knots - but I've my doubts about that display - ever since being hove-to on Saturday, with instrument problems, the boat speed display seems way down - maybe the calibration factor got changed/re-set? Boat speed showing as too low would make system think we've a lot of current, of course...!

Just finished my meal, as we sail sweetly along at 6.6 kt, in around 12 kt of wind from NW: ham and egg, fried potato and sweetcorn. Followed by mandarin - out of a tin, but I just fancied and remembered I had one or two stashed away - so dug it out - lovely and refreshing! One last egg left.... They were clearly very fresh (and unchilled!) when I bought them in Ushuaia, so just turning the box in which they're kept, every few days, works fine for keeping them for a long time, out of the fridge. Still several potatoes and apples from Canada left.... mostly OK, although the potatoes are all beginning to sprout well now...!

This time last year ... I was in the Tasman Sea on Day 56 from Cape Town to Nelson, New Zealand, direct . Arrived Nelson on 10th May 2010 (with repairs needed!), after a 63-day passage via the Bass Strait- that's exactly the day that I've been hoping to make landfall in Cape Town this year! (But the weather gods may have other plans.... That depression to the SW looks nasty and the High will definitely head me....)

About to settle down to email-answering - have lots just now... Keeping an eye on the wind (as always!) - probably have to reduce the (full) genoa before sleeping tonight.

LATER: Wind often up to 20kt, close-hauled, reefed down somewhat, seeing the occasional ship on AIS ... nothing too close ...... a dark night with overcast sky and no moon!

Written by : Mike

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